The District of Columbia (DC) Earned Income Tax Credit Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit?
The federal earned income tax credit or earned income credit (“Federal EIC “) is a refundable tax credit for low- to moderate-income working individuals and couples, particularly those with children. The amount of federal EIC benefit depends on your income and the number of children you have. The federal EIC is claimed on your federal income tax return and is administered by the Internal Revenue Service. Information on the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit can be found at the following link: Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)
- What is the District Earned Income Tax Credit?
District residents who are eligible for and claim a federal EIC are eligible for a District earned income tax credit (“DC EITC”). For filers with a qualifying child, the DC EITC is a percentage of the federal EIC. In addition, certain non-custodial parents who would otherwise qualify for a federal EIC and who pay child support for qualifying children may be eligible for a DC EITC.
Percent of Federal EIC
2019 - 2021
2022 - 2024
2026 (and beyond)
For filers without an EIC Qualifying Child, the amount of your DC EITC is based on a different formula and more information can be found in the DC-D40 information instruction book. The instruction book is available here.
- How do I claim a DC EITC?
For certain low- and moderate-income-income tax filers, free assistance may be available with filing a return through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. For more information on VITA sites, please visit https://www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-qualifying-taxpayers.
- What is the deadline for me to claim a DC EITC?
You have three years from the date your District income tax return is due to claim a DC EITC. For example, for tax year 2019, your return was due on July 15, 2020. The deadline for you to file a return claiming a DC EITC for tax year 2019 is July 15, 2023.
- Does OTR verify that I am eligible for the DC EITC before paying out a refund?
The Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) has implemented security measures to safeguard District taxpayers’ dollars and combat identity theft tax fraud through its Return Verification process. The process requires those taxpayers who are selected for identity verification to verify the information on their returns by submitting additional information. If a taxpayer’s return is selected for verification, details on how to respond to this request will be provided by OTR.
- How does OTR pay out DC EITC refunds?
For Tax Years prior to 2022, the DC EITC refund is paid in a lump sum as part of the tax refund.
For Tax Year 2022 only, if you have an EITC qualifying child, a first payment will be included in your DC tax refund, and it will be a lump sum equal to 40% of the federal EIC. If the remainder of your DC EITC is $600 or more, it will be paid in 11 monthly installments. If the remainder of your DC EITC refund is less than $600 it will be included as a lump sum payment as part of your tax refund.
If you do not have a qualifying child, your DC EITC will be paid in one lump sum as part of your tax refund regardless of the amount.
For Tax Year 2023 and later, DC EITC refunds of $1,200 or more will be paid in 12 monthly installments after the tax return is processed. If your refund is less than $1,200, you will be paid in one lump sum payment as part of your DC tax refund.
- Why did the way my tax refund is paid out change?
In 2021, the DC Council enacted legislation increasing the amount of the DC EITC starting in tax year 2022. (See FAQ 2 above.) In addition, the legislation mandated that the credit be paid out in monthly installments.
- Can I opt out of the monthly payments if I don’t want them?
No. Beginning in tax year 2023, monthly payments are mandatory if your refund is $1,200 or more. (For tax year 2022, monthly payments are mandatory if you have qualifying children and your refund is $600 or more.)
- How will I receive my monthly installment payments?
You can choose how to receive your monthly payments by making a selection on your tax return. You have the option of choosing Direct Deposit, Reliacard or Paper Check for monthly installment payments.
If you do not provide banking information (routing and account numbers), you will receive a paper check by default. There may also be other circumstances where we issue a paper check even if you select Direct Deposit to safeguard your account information and prevent tax-related identity theft. It is important that you always keep your mailing address up to date to ensure that you are receiving important information from OTR and that any payments sent via a paper check are not delayed.
- Will my entire tax refund be paid monthly installments?
No. If you have additional refund amounts such as estimated tax payments, withholding, or other refundable credits, these amounts are not impacted and will be refunded as usual. Any taxes you may owe will be paid from this portion of your refund first.
Only the portion of your refund attributable to the DC EITC will be refunded in monthly installments.
- I selected “Paper Check” on my return but changed my mind and would prefer that my payments be direct deposited. How can I make this change?
If you elected to receive your payment via paper check, you cannot change that selection once your return has been processed. If you need to update your address, you can do so on MyTax.DC.gov. If you need additional information or assistance, you can speak with a Customer Service representative at (202) 727-4TAX (4829).
- Will OTR notify me about how much my monthly installment amount will be?
Yes. You will receive a letter once your tax return is processed giving you more information about what to expect, including the anticipated amount of your monthly installment payment. You can also view any correspondence from us on your MyTax.DC.gov account.
- Will my DC EITC refund be subject to offset?
Yes. If you owe taxes or other debts subject to offset (i.e., child support), those amounts will be deducted from your DC EITC refund if you do not have enough withholding, estimated payments or other refundable credits to pay those debts. The offset can occur when you return is processed before any refund is paid and during the installment payment period.
- I need to make changes to my return and am not sure what to report as “prior refund received.”
If you need to make changes on an amended return, report the entire refund (not the monthly amounts received) on the “prior refund” line. We will automatically calculate how much of the refund has already been issued.
If you need help with making changes and would like to speak to Customer Service representative, please call (202) 727-4TAX (4829) for assistance.
- I didn’t receive my monthly payment or received a payment in a different amount from what I expected. What should I do?
Please reach out to a Customer Service representative for assistance at (202) 727-4TAX.
- Can I apply for the DC EITC program with an ITIN?
Yes, you can use your valid ITIN to apply for the DC EITC.
- Do I have to claim the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to be eligible for the DC EITC?
No. If you meet all the federal requirements, except for having a social security number (SSN), you can still qualify for the DC EITC if you have a valid ITIN.
- If I am married filing jointly, is my spouse required to have an ITIN as well?
Yes, both filers must have an active ITIN to claim the credit.
- If I claim the EITC using an ITIN can I also be subject to monthly installment payments?
If the amount of your DC EITC refund is $1,200 or greater, the DC EITC refund amount will be paid in 12 equal monthly payments; however, if the amount is less than $1,200, the entire amount will be paid in one lump sum payment.
- If I am filing a return using an ITIN can I file my return electronically?
Yes. The office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) accepts both paper and electronically filed returns. However, electronic filing is the best way to file an error-free return. Visit our Individual Income Tax Service Center for more information on electronic filing.
- Is the DC EITC a one-time credit?
No, this credit is available annually. You may apply for the DC EITC every year that you meet the requirements.
- Will my information be shared with Immigration Services?
No. Information submitted to the DC Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) is not shared with immigration services.
- Is the DC EITC considered government assistance?
No. US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been very clear that tax credits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC), are not considered government assistance. This also includes the DC EITC.
- What is an ITIN?
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a US taxpayer identification number but do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a Social Security number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
- What is a valid ITIN?
A valid ITIN is one that was issued by the IRS and has not been revoked or has expired.
- Can my ITIN expire?
Under certain circumstances an ITIN can expire. For more information about expired ITIN numbers, visit IRS.gov “ITIN Expiration Frequently Asked Questions."
- If I do not have an ITIN, how can I get one?
You can file Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), with your federal income tax return. For more information about how to apply, visit IRS.gov and search for "How do I apply for an ITIN?"
- I've applied for an ITIN but have not yet received it. Can I still apply for the DC EITC?
An ITIN is required to apply for the DC EITC. If you are waiting for your ITIN, we cannot accept your return. Once you receive your ITIN, you may then file your return.
- If I must wait to receive my ITIN, how long do I have to claim my refund that may include the DC EITC?
You have 3 years from the due date of the return to claim a refund that may include the DC EITC.